Australian Bureau of Statistics
4603.0.55.001 - Discussion paper: Towards an Environmental Expenditure Account, Australia, August 2014 Quality Declaration
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/08/2014 First Issue
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Many countries regularly produce environmental protection expenditure statistics, particularly in EU and OECD countries. For some countries (e.g. France, Belgium, Austria, Italy), EPE Accounts are compiled and reported systematically on a regular basis. For most countries, however, EPE Accounts are only partially compiled, typically reflecting the specific environmental issues at hand in each region.
Fewer countries produce fully compiled EPE Accounts in the form of a series of inter-linked tables as outlined and presented in this paper. Additionally, this paper extends the coverage to include natural resource management statistics. These statistics and accounts are less well developed internationally, but may also be produced (in whole or in part) using the same principles as those described in the EPE Accounts.
This paper explores the compilation of selected environmental protection and natural resource management transactions for Australia, utilising the SEEA framework for compiling EPE accounts. Experimental data is presented in the tables in the Downloads section of this publication. Table 1 in the Downloads section of this publication summarises the scope and coverage of the estimates provided.
Data included in this paper are considered experimental, and are used to illustrate the type of information that can be presented and derived from a suite of environmental expenditure accounts such as those described in the SEEA Central Framework. Estimates have been compiled to conceptually align with:
The full suite of EEA tables is designed primarily to provide information on the output of environmental-specific services produced across the economy and the consumption (expenditure) on all services for environmental purposes.
The production of environmental services may be broken down to present output by type of environmental service supplied (Graph 1), or by the type of producer (Graph 2).
It should be noted that the EEA does NOT provide a complete view of the supply side for all relevant environmental goods and services. In particular it omits data on the production of connected products and adapted goods for environmental purposes. The Handbook on Environmental Good and Services Sector (Eurostat, 2009) describes the full range of environmental goods and services necessary to create a complete view.
The use (intermediate and final consumption) of these environmental services are also presented, and may be viewed by the type of service purchased, or by who is using the service (Graph 3), depending on policy or the interest of the data user.
The remaining tables (National Expenditure and Financing tables) are defined from a demand perspective, and broaden the scope to include connected products and adapted goods purchased by units undertaking environmental protection and natural resource management activities. This information may be used to show which economic units are investing in/purchasing environmental goods and services (Graph 4), and which units are financing these expenditures (Graph 5).
Production of Environmental Services, Australia
Graph 1 shows the output of environmental-specific services by the type of environmental service being supplied. This is the total output that includes both income generated by sales of these services and the provision of services by government departments. The total supply (and use) of environmental-specific services for Australia in 2010-11 was estimated at $31.9 billion. Solid waste management ($10.4 billion, almost 33% of total) and Waste water management ($6.1 billion, or 19% of total) are the largest environmental services supplied to the economy.
Other environmental domains separately identified were services for Air and climate protection ($3.1 billion), environmental Research and Development ($2.9 billion) and Water management ($2.3 billion). A further $7.1 billion of environmental services were produced for a variety of environmental protection and natural resource management activities including protection of biodiversity; protection and remediation of soil, groundwater and surface water; and other natural resource management activities.
For more information on supply/production of these services, see Tables 2.1, 2.3, 2.5 and 2.7 in the Downloads section of this publication.
It may also be of interest to understand which entities in the economy are producing these services. The EEA are structured to identify the type of economic units supplying the various environmental services.
Specialised producers are those producers whose primary activity is the production of environmental services. Non-specialised producers are those units that produce environmental services only as a secondary activity.
Most environmental services are provided by specialist producers (around 88% - see Graph 2, and Tables 3.3 and 3.4 in Downloads section of this publication). Waste and Wastewater management activities are primarily served by the private sector while government plays a larger role in providing services relating to all other environmental protection and natural resource management activities (roughly equivalent to the services supplied by the private sector for these activities).
In 2010-11, around 12% of the value of environmental services were provided by units undertaking environmental activities as secondary activities.
Tables 3.3 and 3.4 present a broader range of production-related variables including intermediate consumption, value added, and compensation of employees related to the supply of some of these services.
This information would allow any shifts in the provision of services across the economy (eg government to private sector, increased environmental services undertaken as secondary activity) to be monitored and measured over time and assessed for their relevance to environmental and economic policies.
Graph 3 and Tables 2.2, 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8 in the Downloads section of this publication present information on the use of the environmental services in the economy. Three-quarters (75%) of environmental services were consumed by Australian industry, with the bulk of the remainder used as final consumption by Households and General government.
Industries differed in the type and level of environmental service consumed. Manufacturing expenditure was dominated by Solid waste management and Other environmental protection and natural resource management (each around 30% of environmental services consumed by Manufacturing). Mining expenditure was primarily on Other environmental protection and natural resource management (64% of Mining total), and the Construction industry consumed primarily Solid waste management services (47% of Construction total), and Other environmental protection and natural resource management (37% of Construction total). Households and General government as final consumers were the largest consumers of Waste water management services (68% of total value of Waste water services, and 58% of Total final consumption on environmental services).
National Expenditure on Environmental protection and natural resource management
The graphs and tables referred to so far are limited to the supply and use of environmental protection and natural resource management related services. National expenditure on environmental protection and natural resource management (Tables 4.1, 4.2 in Downloads section of this publication and Graph 4 below) broaden the scope of the EEA to include connected products and adapted goods purchased by those undertaking environmental activities. It also includes capital formation for environmental activities by producers, and relevant environmental transfers. The inclusion of these additional flows are intended to provide an estimate of total outlays by an economy on environmental protection and natural resource management, and present environmental expenditure from a demand perspective.
Over three-quarters (78%) of Australia's estimated national expenditure on environmental services and connected/adapted goods was by the corporate sector. The bulk of this was intermediate consumption of environment related services by Australian businesses (non-specialised producers plus other industries) to mitigate/minimise their impacts on the environment ($14.1 billion).
With regard to connected and adapted products for environmental purposes, including recyclable materials, rainwater tanks, solar panels etc, the corporate sector spent around $5 billion on the consumption of these goods.
Households and Non profit institutions serving households spent $6.3 billion on environmental goods and services, around 18% of Australia's national expenditure on environmental good and services.
Graph 4: National Expenditure on selected Environmental Services and connected/adapted goods, by user
Financing of Selected Environmental Goods and Services
The final tables in the full suite of EEA are an extension of the National Expenditure tables to show the financing of national expenditure on environmental protection and natural resource management. These are presented in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 in the Downloads section of this publication.
While the columns of the Financing tables resemble those in the National Expenditure tables, the rows present the financing units, taking into account transfers flowing between economic units such as grants and subsidies.
Tables 5.1 and 5.2 and Graph 5 below show that Australian industry financed over three-quarters (77% or $27.5 billion) of the expenditure on goods and services related to environmental protection and natural resource management. Households financed $6.1 billion, or around 17% of this expenditure, and government funded around 6%.
This paper presents experimental estimates to illustrate the potential of producing a full suite of EEA for Australia, and highlights some statistics which may be derived from these estimates. It should be acknowledged that these estimates are experimental and some information is based on partial estimates and modelled data (for a more detailed description see Table 1 in the Downloads section of this publication and Explanatory Notes) and, as such, tables and graphs should be used as indicative only and for the purpose of understanding the type of information that can be produced.
Most data presented in this paper are highly aggregated as detailed disaggregations of information are presently unavailable. Better quality and more disaggregated information would result in more detailed information relating to, for example, further industry breakdowns and detailed industry estimates, and/or further breakdowns of information for different environmental domains eg biodiversity and landscape protection; protection and remediation of soil, groundwater and surface water; management of various (specific) resources etc.
In addition to deriving indicators to highlight change in key areas over time, using accounting conventions of the SNA means that data derived from the EEA may be compared to and combined with various macro-economic aggregates such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Value Add (GVA). Additional analyses would be supported by linking EEA data to physical data, such as quantities of waste to landfill, recovery rates, air emissions data etc to help analyse and review the effectiveness of environmental policies and expenditures.
Recent cuts to the ABS' environmental statistics programme (in particular the ABS Waste Account, Australia (cat. no. 4602.0.55.006)) will impact on the availability of data sources to compile a comprehensive EEA in the future.
Feedback is sought from potential users and providers of data on all aspects of an Australian Environmental Expenditure Account (EEA) including:
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This page last updated 27 January 2016